January is a great time to catch up on that pile of books and magazines that go neglected when one is busy in the garden. I invariably have a clutch of garden magazines to peruse and because their corresponding month(s) have already passed, I generally take note of plants and advice to implement for next year. A sort of rough list of long term to-do items to consider when I finally make my grand plans and preparations for the gardening seasons to come. This is a pastime I really look forward to – it’s an activity filled with possibilities and dreams. So, there I am eager to take my time to reflect and regroup as mentioned last week when I’m rudely sent into panic mode – I’m way behind on schedule! My garden is simply not ready!
I’d observed that this January, my pile of magazines was kind of small as all of last year, I’d been fairly good about reading the periodicals soon after they arrived in the mail. Settling down to enjoy this modest stack, I quickly found myself drooling over images of swathes of snowdrops blanketing countryside gardens, bouquets worth of hellebores blooming in gardens small and large, pansies bravely showing their faces above snow laced earth and other plants stretching awake. All happening in real time. Looking around my own plot, I gazed upon a garden in hibernation. Like the night before Christmas, nothing was stirring. How could this be?!
I had yet to prune the grapevine and roses. For goodness sake, the holiday decorations had only been recently removed. How then could there possibly be signs of spring awakening? Scrolling quickly through Instagram, I came upon post after post depicting the same early spring flowers perking up gardens. Some even had daffodils ready to unfurl bright yellow petals. I could feel the growing pit in my stomach. And then, it hit me – I’d become so absorbed in my reading and salivating, that it’d completely escaped my mind that I was following/reading what was happening in England. Whew! What a big relief.
With milder winters than ours in the northeast, the UK enjoys winter blooms that we typically associate with early spring. However, even for them this is a bit earlier than usual to see daffodils readying to bloom. They too have had an odd winter thus far. From too cold to crazy rain the weather has been capricious. It has me wondering how our own strange winter to date will impact the seasons ahead. Will spring be early? I hope not! Anticipating it is a giddy thrill I do not want abbreviated. Besides, past experience has shown an early start generally means a short spring with summer arriving all too soon dragging with it deplorable heat and humidity. I hate that. I could live with spring forever.
But, this is conjecture. I cannot worry about what I cannot control. Time will reveal what is to be. For now, I’m just going to revel in the doings in England and dream about my spring garden to come. I’ll keep calm and carry on. Stiff upper lip and all that.
Note: Since we’re in dream mode, I’m sharing images of some of my watercolors instead of garden photos –
(c) 2023 Shobha Vanchiswar
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